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management and planning

Support for public policies

Approved projects consolidate partnerships and begin research

After ensuring the feasibility of the projects and consolidating the partnerships with the organizations that will implement them, 18 of the 61 proposals approved in the first stage of the Public Policies Research Program (PP) have moved on to the second stage: the research as such. The program was set up in 1998, to encourage carrying out research focused on community demands.

All the research projects now beginning have to face up, for the next two years, to the challenge of producing and systematizing knowledge that contributes to defining and implementing relevant and reproducible public policies, and of associating the academic work with the demands of the community. “In the first stage, the objective was to consolidate the format of the program and the relationships with partners, in such a way that they took effective part in designing the research”, says Paula Montero, coordinator of the Public Policies Program. In her opinion, an important criterion in approving projects for the second stage was the definition of a transfer and scientific publicizing plan, which, once this stage was over, would guarantee the training of technicians in the partner organizations and ensure that the project would be carried on, translated into public policy. “The outlook is optimistic”, is the way Paula Montero sees it.

Partnership with institutions, whether of the government or not, is a basic assumption of the Program. This type of collaboration has already proved successful in the Partnership for Technological Innovation and Improvement to the Basic Education and Technological Innovation in Small Companies programs.

During the first stage of the Public Policies Program, the sponsors of each of the pre-qualified projects had financial support from FAPESP to consolidate the proposals. “There were six months of hard work”, recalls Antonio Carlos Coelho Campino, of the Business Administration School of the University of São Paulo (USP). He is responsible for monitoring the change to making municipalities responsible for healthcare services in São Paulo, to be undertaken in partnership with the Health Institute of the State Health Department.

Making municipalities responsible for healthcare, currently being implemented by the federal government, transfers the management of the Single Healthcare System (SUS The public health system in Brazil) to local government. City Halls have not always carried out the task successfully, since it demands training to monitor the funds transferred by the Federal Government, calculations of spending per capita, and strict investment planning. The monitoring model that the project is intends to draw up will be prepared based on studies of health municipalization to 16 towns chosen in the first stage, ranked by size of population and the ability to run the SUS, explains Campino. “Now we will guide the gathering of data by the municipalities involved in the projects and create a model for giving them support in monitoring the process”, he explains

Health inquiry
Another project approved in the healthcare, coordinated by Chester Luiz Galvão Cesar, of USP’s Public Health School, will carry out a health survey in five towns in the Greater São Paulo, Botucatu and Campinas, region, chosen in the first stage, jointly with the Coordination of the Research Institutes of the State Health Department. The questionnaires will be also be used in Butantã region of São Paulo, the areaundewr the influence of the University Hospital and the Health School Center. Besides USP, the São Paulo State University (Unesp) and Campinas State University (Unicamp) will take part. The survey, which will be conducted in households in a sample of 6,400 respondents, will ask about the health problems that have taken place in the two weeks before the survey and the action taken by people. “We will work with the above mentioned morbidities and not with clinical diagnoses”, points out the coordinator. These results will be compared with those obtained in a similar survey that the Health Department conducted ten years ago.

The project coordinated by Lilia Blima Schraiber, of the Preventive Medicine Department of USP’s School of Medicine, also conducted in partnership with the State Health Department, focuses on women’s health. By assessing the occurrence of cases of domestic and sexual violence among users of 20 Basic Health Units in the towns of Santo André, Diadema and Mogi das Cruzes, in the Greater São Paulo region, the project intends to develop technology for attending women’s healthcare programs. “There already are support services for victims of violence in the Justice system, such as, for example, the Women’s Police Stations. This will be the first such service in the Healthcare field in all Brazil”, reveals Lilia Schraiber.

Domestic violence, she says, has a considerable effect on women’s health; it is responsible for insomnia, depression, urinary infections, and even sexually transmitted diseases. Studies carried out in Nicaragua in 1999 show suggest that this problem also has an effect on children’s health. “If the quality of service and welfare improves, it may be possible to do something about this situation”. In the first two years planned for the research, the professionals in the projects will be trained to use the research’s tools and pre-testing. “In the second year, we will analyze the material collected in order to suggest service technology”, says the coordinator.

Special education
In education four projects have already moved into the second stage of the Program. These include the one coordinated by Lisete Regina Gomes Arelaro, of USP, which will assess the public special education system, in partnership with the municipality’s Education Department “Campinas has proportionally the highest number of specialized teachers in special education, but, paradoxically, the municipal public network has only 200 special pupils against 2,500 registered in the private schools system”, she says. Most of the teachers, although hired by the City Hall are “on loan” to private philanthropic schools, a procedure authorized by an ordinance issued by the Ministry of Education. “Our objective is to develop strategies to expand the service offered in the public schools, bringing pupils and teachers back”, she explains. The strategy to be adopted envisions for the development of a set of procedures for restoring families’ confidence in the quality of the services provided by public schools and, at the same time, encourage schools to extend the number of special places. The proposal includes a sort of marketing campaign, using billboards and video clips on the rights of the disabled, which will be shown at places where many people congregate, such as, for example, town bus stations.

Agricultural policies
Two of the approved projects focus on developing public policies in Farming and Livestock Raising. The first, coordinated by Nelson Batista Martin, of the Agronomics Institute of the State of São Paulo’s Agriculture and Supply Department, which will be implemented jointly with Piraju City Hall, envisions the preparation of a steering plan for the town. The idea is to develop a computerized system for analyzing and organizing data to carry out a census of rural properties, whose validity will be tested in Piraju but which could be used in any town.

In the project’s first stage, for example, it was observed that there were many properties of up to 5 hectares located along the dam that surrounds the town, making intense use of vegetable greenhouse technology and areas where coffee planting dominates. Information such as this, consolidated in a municipal database, will allow the researchers to prepare at least three scenarios for agricultural development policies that will be submitted to leaders and to the Municipal Agricultural Council. “It is a generic system that any town can use”, he promises.

The goal of the second project approved in the Farming and Livestock Raising field is to establish an institutional policy for monitoring self-management of the cooperatives in the state of São Paulo. Coordinated by Sigismundo Bialoskorski Neto, of USP’s Economics, Business Administration, and Accounting School at Ribeirão Preto, the project has the Cooperatives Organization of the state of São Paulo (Ocesp) as its partner. The work proposal is to undertake a diagnosis of the 144 agricultural cooperatives in São Paulo, assessing their degree of success and the capacity of each to earn money, in order to quantify their impact on the economy, as Bialoskorski Neto explains. “The data provided by Ocesp will be examined using the Artificial Neural Network (RNA in the Portuguese acronym), a procedure similar to that used to measure banking and developing country risk”, explains the project coordinator.

Environmental monitoring
In the environmental field, two projects are now beginning the research stage. The project coordinated by Jener Fernando Leite de Moraes, of the Soils and Environmental Resources Center of the Campinas Agronomics Institute (IAC), will carry out e an agricultural and environmental diagnosis for managing and monitoring the hydrographic basin of the Jundiaí-Mirim river, which supplies 97% of the water used by the town of Jundiaí. The partner in this case is the Jundiaí City Hall.

“We have already made an assessment of the soil conditions, of the springs and the state of preservation of the surrounding forest, says Leite de Moraes. Domination of secondary forestry, pollution of the waters by fecal coliforms   and strong urban pressure was observed. This weakens the hydrographic system, leading to conditions that encourage erosion. In the second stage of the project, it is intended to map cultures and associate, for example, the variations in the pollution rates with agricultural or industrial activity carried on in areas close to the water sources, so as to help establish environmental protection policies.

Another project in the environmental field will develop a model allowing the formation of ozone in the lower atmosphere to be predicted in densely populated areas, like São Paulo. Coordinated by Roberto Guardani, of the Chemical Engineering Department of USP’s Polytechnic School, the research will be done jointly with the State Environmental Technology and Sanitation Company (Cetesb). Ozone pollution is hard to control, since it is not the result of vehicle emissions, but is formed by substances such as nitrogen oxide under given meteorological conditions. In São Paulo, for example, one of the areas with highest rate of this type of pollution is Ibirapuera Park. “Pollution is carried by the wind”, points out Guardani.

Besides understanding the phenomenon of ozone formation in the atmosphere better, the project will create a sort of meteorological service, with information gathered from Cetesb’s 30 measuring stations, that will allow the occurrence of ozone pollution to be predicted at least a day in advance. People will be forewarned and the risks deriving from exposure, such as respiratory or skin problems will be minimized”, he maintains. The second stage of the project also provides for a mobile pollution measuring station for areas not covered by Cetesb to be purchased with finance by FAPESP.

At the end of two years, the time planned for carrying out the research projects, the successful ones will go on to the third stage of the Program, for which the partner institution will be responsible.